The Workplace Visions publication discusses the mismatch of business needs and lack of available skills of young people currently entering the workforce. The recent Society of Human Resource Management publication highlights and how this mismatch will impact the challenges on managing the emerging workforce. Their research indicates “a staggering 94% of human resource professionals do not feel that their workforce is adequately prepared to meet the future goals of their organization.” As an example of the lack of available skills of our emerging workforce, a comparison was drawn between U.S. and their global competitors in the area of Science Knowledge. Of the 29 industrialized countries listed, the U.S. came in last, behind the U.K., German, Japan, China, and behind the front-runner Finland. In Mathematics and Problem Solving, U.S. students also performed below average. In Reading, U.S. students scored just above the mean, but well below the top performers.
99% of participants in a 2007 study felt like the best remedy was to expose and teach students a variety of skills that would allow the U.S. to compete globally in the future. While there was a consensus of significant improvements needed in reading, science and math, employers had a bias towards applied skills such as critical thinking and problem solving, teamwork and collaborating, leadership and diversity.
Here is the Top 10 list of skills employees are expected to need over the next five years
- Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
- Information Technology Application
- Teamwork and Collaboration
- Creativity and Innovation
- Oral Communications
- Professionalism and Work Ethics
- Ethics and Social Responsibility
- Written Communications
Action Plan for Job Seekers
During the interview process, job seekers can probe to find out what the company needs. What skills is the company lacking? What is impacting their competitiveness or slowing their growth? What critical elements are needed to complete their team? Chances are good the skill needed can be found on the Top 10 list. Think about your own strengths and experiences. What are your top two or three strengths that will add value to the company? Working with your strengths, develop brief concise stories you can share that will help the hiring manager “see” you as having expertise in these areas. If there is a solid match between their needs and the values you offer, then the hiring decision has just become an easy choice.
Once hired, learn more about which skills you will need for continued success. Invest in continued education to hone your skills and erase any significant deficits that may impede your career growth. It is always better to be part of the solution rather than be perceived as part of the problem.